So, I’ll be honest, when I finally got to Wilshire Boulevard Temple tonight for their Sanctuary Rededication and community concert, I wasn’t feeling the love for anything. It’s been a hectic, arduous, often annoying 48 hours. I got 5 hours of sleep last night. I didn’t get out of work until 4:00 and the service was supposed to start at 5:00. I told Eric to go on ahead and I’d meet him there. Our friends Barbara and Jack were meeting us there as well. Of course, parking was a nightmare. I was grumpy when I found my group in the balcony of the newly restored temple. I started kvetching (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist) about having to park half a mile away. And then I stopped and looked around the sanctuary and I was kind of speechless: it was stunning. I took a few pictures which I posted to Instagram (feel free to follow me at raybarnhart68), but I really wish you could have been there to see it. A few minutes after my arrival, the two-hour service started. Different guests and members of the congregation talked about the temple, the previous rabbis, interfaith relations, Los Angeles. There were prayers. There was music from six different choirs including the Wilshire Boulevard Temple Choir, the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, the Sacred Praise Chorale of Faithful Bible Church.
And then the service closed with Burt Bacharach and all of the choirs singing What the World Needs Now. I also posted a snippet of that to Instagram. After the weekend I had, there was a part of me that dreaded sitting in a pew for a religious service, and yet, I left invigorated. I shed a tear when Rabbi Steven Leder became a little emotional as he introduced his mother. What a big day this was for him, this respected religious leader and yet, at heart, like the rest of us, he’s a child who just wants to make his parents proud.
It was an evening filled with blessings for people of all faiths and among those blessings was being able to sing along with Burt Bacharach to one of his most iconic, beloved songs. Btw, he’s 85 and spryer than me, not that that’s saying too much. His life has certainly had its joys and sadnesses and I couldn’t tell you how much his faith has played a role in his life, but it was a gift for him to share his time and talent with us, with me and Eric and Barbara and Jack, tonight. And certainly, the song couldn’t ring truer, love is exactly what the world needs, now and always.